‘SmartReading’ is a reading programme started by SmartLife, a non-profit organisation, in line with the UAE Government’s initiative of the Year of Reading in 2016.
The five-month SmartReading programme helps blue-collar workers to read and speak basic English, and the content includes English passages, short motivational stories, daily life activities and inspiring tales, which are customised based on each student’s current English proficiency.
Elaborating on the SmartReading programme, Gurubasu Shrishail Katageri, Senior Sustainability Engineer of BESIX said, "Many of the labourers we employ are skilled in variety of construction and engineering methods, but very often they are unable to converse in any other language other than their mother tongue.”
“The programme not only improves our workers’ communication skills in English, but it also brings a positive change in their personal lives, due to an increase in their confidence levels. The smiles on the faces when they completed the first class says it all,” added Katageri.
The training is offered to the labourers at the company’s staff accommodation located in Jebel Ali, and in 2017, SmartLife successfully trained more than 400 students across 17 locations in Dubai.
“The programme is currently in its’ fourth intake and has been a truly rewarding experience for the workers - not only in terms of their English improving, but it has also had a big impact on their self-esteem,” added Manjula Ramakrishnan, Project Lead for SmartReading and official spokesperson for SmartLife.
“They realise that it is never too late to acquire a working knowledge of English, which is essential considering the multi-cultural environment we all work in.”
The collaboration with SmartLife is an extension to the BESIX Foundation’s ‘Right 2 Learn’ programme, whereby BESIX’s blue-collar workers are taught basic computer and internet skills, to explore the vast world of internet and to communicate easily with their friends and families in their home countries. To date ‘Right 2 Learn’ has trained more than 712 students across Middle East.